Ancient tax building discovered in Jerusalem. Dates back 2,700 years

Remains of an ancient palace intended for tax collection have been discovered in Jerusalem. It dates back 2700 years.

Near the new headquarters of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, remains of a 2,700-year-old public building that would have been used for tax collection have been discovered.

The ancient building, according to archaeologist Neri Sapir of the Israel Antiquities Authority who directed the excavation work, is believed to be exceptional both in size and architectural style. The palace probably served as an administrative center during the reigns of Hezekiah and Manasseh, thus from the eighth to the mid-seventh century BCE.

During the excavations, 120 amphora handles and about a hundred seals engraved on pottery dating to 2,700 years ago were also found. According to archaeologists, this is one of the largest collections of seals from the Kingdom of Judah known to date. Study of the findings will lead to reflection on how the Israelite kingdom was organized at the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem.

Amphora handles that have casts of seals testify that the ancient palace was used as a warehouse and tax center, as the letters in Hebrew LMLK indicate membership in the king. The letters are also accompanied by various symbols, such as an eagle in flight or a sun disk; and the name of one of the four cities of the Kingdom of Judah also appears.

The amphorae were used to collect taxes for agricultural products, such as wine and oil, but they could also be sent by the king to finance military campaigns, for example.

“This is one of the most significant discoveries made in recent years related to the period of the kings of Jerusalem,” said Sapir and Nathan Ben-Ari, who directed the excavations. “We have evidence that the governmental activity managed and distributed food supplies and administered the agricultural surplus by accumulating derricks and goods.”

Ancient tax building discovered in Jerusalem. Dates back 2,700 years
Ancient tax building discovered in Jerusalem. Dates back 2,700 years

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